CKE Restaurant Group CEO Andrew Puzder has officially withdrawn his name from nomination for Labor Secretary, according to his spokesperson George Thompson, reached this afternoon by email. Thompson released this statement from Pudzer:
"After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for Secretary of Labor. I am honored to have been considered by President Donald Trump to lead the Department of Labor and put America’s workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity. I want thank President Trump for his nomination. I also thank my family and my many supporters—employees, businesses, friends and people who have voiced their praise and hopeful optimism for the policies and new thinking I would have brought to America as Secretary of Labor. While I won't be serving in the administration, I fully support the President and his highly qualified team."
Immediately upon word of his withdrawal — less than a day before his official confirmation hearings were scheduled in Washington, D.C. — comments from organizations, which had fought against his nomination started coming into this site, including this one from Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:
"While we welcome the news that Andrew Puzder will not be our next Secretary of Labor, it is incumbent upon the President to nominate someone who will fully respect the laws designed to protect American workers. The record clearly showed that Puzder was not the right person for this critically important job. Workers in America deserve a Secretary of Labor who will work to improve their economic opportunities, advocate for raising the minimum wage, respect the right of workers to organize collectively, strengthen economic and retirement security, improve overtime protections, and vigorously enforce non-discrimination protections and the Fair Labor Standards Act. The next Secretary of Labor must honor the legacy of Frances Perkins and fully enforce the laws and regulations that safeguard workers. Whomever is nominated must be an advocate for workers and not a lapdog for corporate interests."
The organization also said in a news release that earlier today, the conference had urged the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to reject the nomination, calling him "unfit" for the position. Overnight and in recent weeks, several negative stories about Puzder were published, including news that he at one time employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and the filing yesterday of a lawsuit by workers at CKE restaurants who claim he violated labor laws. Today, reports surfaced about his possible involvement with domestic abuse.
One of the most vocal organizations related to foodservice in the opposition voiced against the nomination, the Restaurant Opportunities Center, responded to the news saying that the real work has just begun, as another nominee will soon be named.
"We organized over 100 food and reproductive justice allies to petition Senators. We brought Carl's Jr and Hardees workers to DC to testify to Congress. We worked with employers to write op-eds about how Puzder and the NRA don't represent them. We sent thousands of letters to our Senators," the organization said in a statement to QSRWeb.com. "Now, multiple outlets are reporting that, because of your calls and emails, U.S. Secretary of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder has withdrawn. … While we can celebrate today that the U.S. Department of Labor will not be led by an enemy of the American worker. We must fortify our gains against future attacks. If we stick together we can build a restaurant industry that takes the high road to profitabilty."